CHENEY SEES THE LIGHT….We’ve all been thoroughly entertained by Dick Cheney’s “unorthodox” argument that he is not part of the executive branch, a policy position the White House has refused to comment on.

Late Tuesday, the Office of the Vice President shifted its rhetoric a bit, arguing that Cheney ignored an executive order because the document exempted him from oversight. (Asked where the E.O. said this, Cheney’s lawyers declined comment. Apparently, you need some kind of decoder ring to read text that doesn’t exist.) Forget about that other argument, they said; it’s no longer operative.

Yesterday, in what I believe was a first, the White House said Cheney never liked that fourth-branch argument anyway.

A White House official placed further distance from the dual role argument by adding that Mr. Cheney did not necessarily agree with it.

See? Dick Cheney’s office started asserting a year ago that the Vice President isn’t part of the executive branch, but the gang has just now come to the conclusion that Cheney isn’t fond of his argument. What a relief.

If the White House doesn’t like the tack, and the VP doesn’t agree with it, and literate people everywhere recognize the argument as sheer nonsense, maybe now the White House can respond to questions about whether Cheney is part of the executive branch?

And if the argument has genuinely fallen out of favor at the White House, maybe someone can tell the Justice Department? Gonzales & Co. have apparently been struggling with the question for several months. Maybe Cheney can give them a hand.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.